Chicagoland: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

Dale Earnhardt Jr. - driver, No. 8 Budweiser team: "The stats don't speak much in our favor, but we've made considerable gains at Chicago the past few years. Two years ago we had a car that could've won. Last year we might've been just as ...

Dale Earnhardt Jr. - driver, No. 8 Budweiser team:

"The stats don't speak much in our favor, but we've made considerable gains at Chicago the past few years. Two years ago we had a car that could've won. Last year we might've been just as good but were snake-bitten. We started the day running over a chunk of metal from someone else's car, and we ended the day crashing by ourselves ... just one of those races you try to forget. The biggest challenge at Chicago is track position, because it's not the easiest place to pass. It seems the further back you are, the more aero-push (aerodynamic push) becomes a factor. We hurt ourselves with bad pit stops at Daytona. Actually, it was a rough night all the way around on pit road (earlier in the night Dale Jr. was forced off pit road upon exit, leaving him to slosh and bog his way through the rain-soaked grass). We can't do the same thing at Chicago and expect to contend for the win."

Dale Jr. and the Bud team enter the Chicago race weekend on the heels of a third-place finish at Daytona, its ninth top-five of the season. Dale Jr. has one top-10 in three races at Chicagoland Speedway (July, 2002). His best shot at victory came in 2002 when he led four times for 81 laps.

Dale Jr. is currently second in the NEXTEL Cup point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 27 tallies. In 17 races this year, the Bud team has three wins, nine top fives, and 12 top-10 finishes ... The Bud team has finished sixth or better in five of the last seven races.

Of the four races on 1.5-mile tracks this year, Dale Jr. has three top-six finishes and one win (Atlanta). He has led in three of those races for a total of 61 laps.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jimmie Johnson